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Institute for the Research of Genocide Canada

Students ask to prevent Milorad Dodik from holding his lecture on Columbia University

Institute for the Research of Genocide Canada
Published: October 24, 2011  

John H. Coatsworth, Ph.D.

Dean, School of International and Public Affairs

Columbia University

14th floor, MC 3328
New York, NY 10027

Dear Mr. Coatsworth,

I am writing to you concerning the upcoming lecture,” An American Foreign Policy Success Story: The Dayton Accords, Republika Srpska and Bosnia’s European Integration” presented by Milorad Dodik. I am turning to you because I am deeply concerned that such a respected school is hosting a genocide denier who is not only working against the Dayton agreement but is also promoting nationalism and attempting to breakup Bosnia and Herzegovina. I have always had faith in higher education to promote peace, truth and justice and I am deeply disappointed to see that politics have been made a priority over the values that we are usually taught.

I am not writing on behalf of any organization, I am just a human rights student studying at an American university and I happen to come across this lecture on the Columbia’s Event page. When I saw this man’s name my heart sank. It greatly disappoints and upsets me to see that a highly respected university is downplaying the current and depleting situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina which Dodik has played a major role in. Having the same man who continuously promotes the breakup of Bosnia and Herzegovina and criticizes the Dayton Agreement give a lecture about the very success of the Dayton Accord is promoting the actual breakup of the state and giving students an incorrect depiction of the situation.

There are 300, 000 Bosniak-Americans who cannot return to Bosnia and Herzegovina because of the past and the ongoing ultra-nationalist agenda which Mr. Dodik is openly and proudly part of. Most of these Bosniak-Americans are current university students and some are even attending Columbia University.  I have decided to do a Masters degree and in an American university because I always believed that education is our only hope for justice, truth and progression and the western education ideology has always given me that impression. Today, Columbia University is making me doubt what I have believed in all these years. It truly breaks my heart that after everything that all the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina have been through and continue to go through because of the nationalist politics, is actually supported by Columbia University. In other words this university is rewarding this man for his lack of cooperation in state building and this will continue to endanger the stability of the region as long as academic support is given to intolerant and nationalists like Dodik.

Having followed this man’s public speeches, policies of his political party and his constant intolerance remarks I am very concerned about the October 25th lecture because many students are not familiar with the past events of the conflict and genocide and allowing someone who has no interest in upholding the constitutionality of Bosnia and Herzegovina is not a suitable individual to educate students on this issue.  With this letter I kindly ask that the university administration takes the appropriate steps in preventing Milorad Dodik from holding his lecture on the grounds of Columbia University. Thank you


Aldina Muslija

M.A Human Rights
Central European University

Institute for the Research of Genocide Canada